By Jeffrey Flanagan and Robert Falkoff
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez threw seven strong innings, and shortstop Alcides Escobar had an RBI and scored a run, as the Royals got back on track with a 5-1 win over the Braves on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Volquez gave up six hits and one run, walked none and struck out two. It was a bounce-back performance from last Sunday when he went a season-low 4 1/3 innings against the Indians.
"He threw the ball really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. " … and he was making good pitches early in the count. He didn't fall behind. And they put the ball in play."
Braves starter Julio Teheran matched Volquez almost pitch for pitch, also tossing seven solid innings. Teheran gave up four hits and one earned run, while walking three and striking out five.
Braves catcher Tyler Flowers lauded Volquez for showing the command that held the Atlanta offense in check.
"That's what your very good pitchers do," Flowers said. "He doesn't miss over the heart of the plate too often. He doesn't give you any real mistakes to take advantage of."
The Braves were on their heels right from the outset as right fielder Jeff Francoeur committed a two-base error in the opening inning when Escobar's apparent single rolled past him, allowing Escobar to reach third with none out.
"Frenchy just got caught in no man's land," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He couldn't stop and he couldn't catch it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The Cheslor Show: Royals rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert has done a terrific job filling in for the injured Mike Moustakas, making several defensive gems. He made another one in the second when he charged a high chopper from Gordon Beckham, barehanded it, and threw a rope to first where Eric Hosmer made a fantastic scoop. Cuthbert also doubled down the left-field line in the second and scored the Royals' second run. More >
"I've really worked on my defense a lot since I've signed," Cuthbert said.
Cuthbert, who was called up from Triple-A last weekend, said it is more fun making gems at the big-league level. Why?
"Bigger cheers," he said.
Quality arm: Teheran continues to give the Braves a chance to win when he takes the mound. A two-base error by right fielder Francoeur led to an unearned run in the opening inning. Otherwise, the Royals managed only the RBI single by Escobar as Teheran held an opponent to two runs or fewer for a fifth consecutive start. More >
"How much better can you ask?" Gonzalez said of Teheran's performance.
Too much wall: With just nine jacks all season, the Braves have been starving for the home run ball. They nearly had one in the second when Kelly Johnson's drive hit the top of the wall in right-center and stayed in the park for a one-out double. Francoeur and Beckham quickly grounded out, enabling the Royals to protect what was then a one-run lead.
#EskyMagic: Escobar got things going in the first for the Royals when he dropped a single into right field that slipped past Francoeur. The two-base error put Escobar on third. Moments later, with the infield back, Lorenzo Cain grounded out to shortstop, driving in Escobar. In the second, Escobar drove in Cuthbert with a single to right.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon dropped a fly ball by Freddie Freeman in the fourth inning and it was ruled an error. That snapped Gordon's 188-game streak since his previous error on Aug. 2, 2014.
"[Gordon] came up to me after the game and he said, 'Sorry,'" Volquez said. "I said, 'Sorry for what? You know how many runs you've saved for me?"
CERVENKA STREAK ENDS
Left-hander Hunter Cervenka came on for the eighth and allowed three earned runs in just one-third of an inning. That snapped a 15-game scoreless appearance streak to begin his career, which marks the longest such streak in franchise history.
"His big thing is just getting ahead of guys," Flowers said. "If you don't get ahead of guys, it becomes a little more predictable."
Added Gonzalez: "Now we know he's a human being."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Braves challenged a call in the eighth inning when it was ruled that shortstop Erick Aybar missed the bag at second while trying to complete a double play. After a review, the safe call was ruled as stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (0-1, 5.06 ERA) will be looking for his second quality start in three opportunities when he takes the mound for the middle game of the series on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz has never faced the Royals.
Royals: Right-hander Dillon Gee (0-0, 2.61) gets the start for the Royals on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. CT. Gee is starting in place of the injured Chris Young, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.